Fanny J. Crosby
Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
O what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of his spirit, washed in his blood.
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long.
Tune composer Phoebe Palmer Knapp (1839-1908) played a melody to Fanny Crosby and asked, “What does the melody say to you?” Crosby replied that the tune said, “Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!” and proceeded to recite the entire first stanza of the now-famous hymn. Knapp was one of several tune writers that worked with Fanny Crosby. It was not unusual for one of her texts to be inspired by a preexisting tune. Knapp was the composer of more than five hundred gospel hymns and tunes.
Fanny Crosby (1820-1915), blind at the age of six weeks, was a lifelong Methodist who began composing hymns at age six. She became a student at the New York Institute of the Blind at age 15 and joined the faculty of the Institute at 22, teaching rhetoric and history. In 1885, Crosby married Alexander Van Alstyne, also a student at the Institute and later a member of the faculty. He was a fine musician and, like Fanny, a lover of literature.